November 14, 2014

Jarvis’ research earns professional recognition

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Cheryl Burke Jarvis, a marketing professor and administrator at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, recently earned recognition for having her research cited frequently by other professionals in the field. 

Jarvis, an associate dean in the College of Business, is featured in a recent edition of the “Journal of Marketing Education” in an article “Global Benchmarking of Marketing Doctoral Program Faculty and Institutions by Subarea.” The article ranks Jarvis fourth among scholars in the United States and seventh worldwide for consumer behavior research with 527 citations from her work recorded between 2003 and 2012.  

“This is an acknowledgement that my work is having some impact and that it is being used by other academics. It’s an indication that my work is making its way into practice, as well,” Jarvis said. “It isn’t just about publishing articles. It is about publishing articles that have some relevance to my audience. In this case, it is the audience of academics that find my work important enough to cite.” 

Jarvis enjoys studying the relationships between customers and businesses, typically focusing on how businesses can improve their interaction with customers. She studies the way frontline service employees work with customers and how customers form opinions about a firm based on these and other interactions with a company. She said her work has led to greater understanding of why consumers and firms do the things they do and what can be done to improve those relationships. 

Jarvis said the ranking is somewhat confusing in that the authors identify her research work as being in the subarea of consumer behavior rather than in marketing management strategy, which is where she focuses her substantive work. Essentially, consumer behavior research focuses on the impact of a firm on the customer whereas Jarvis studies the impact of customers on a firm.

Although one of her most highly cited articles was published in a journal known as a leading outlet for consumer behavior research, resulting in her being included in this category listing, that particular article is a methodological investigation of a statistical technique that is relevant to all subareas of marketing research, not specifically consumer behavior study.  There is significant cross-over in subarea content among the various marketing research journals, however, and Jarvis’ research crosses different discipline areas, resulting in her citations ranking.  

For Jarvis, persistence and curiosity are important attributes to have as both a researcher and a marketing professor, as is holistic thinking that looks at all of the details while applying information to the big picture. Jarvis joined the SIU faculty in 2009 and her research benefits her students as well because she connects her current findings with her years of professional work experience to better inform her classroom teaching, giving students not only insights from her workplace background, but also cutting-edge knowledge from her research that isn’t even in textbooks as yet. Research and discovery are particularly important to Jarvis, as is imparting the results of the research to her students. 

“I always found that the best professors I had in my undergraduate career were those who worked and brought that real world knowledge into the classroom. It is important that I do that for my students,” Jarvis said. “I love all aspects of being a teacher. I love the opportunity to help students discover their passion for marketing and business as well. The most important thing in order to be successful is to find something to love about whatever it is that you do.” 

She is also pleased that her work is having a positive impact on businesses. 

“One of the best things I hear from businesses is that my research has changed how they do things. That means a lot,” she said. 

Jarvis’ current research involves looking at how front-line service employees deal with failure and recovery through resilience and optimism. 

“We think frontline employees can be trained, to some extent, for positive personal characteristics related to how quickly and creatively they design service recoveries for customers when services failures occur as is inevitable.  We are looking at the implications of that on customer satisfaction and loyalty and word-of-mouth,” Jarvis said. “We are also looking at how the positive attitudes of employees can facilitate creativity and productivity in service delivery to enhance the firm they work for.”